Aryabhatta Knowledge University (the umbrella University for All community colleges of Bihar as designated by Education Dept., Govt. of Bihar) and Wadhwani Foundations recently announced the successful one year culmination of a pilot on community colleges under the UGC and Govt. of Bihar [GoB] led skill development program in the State. Wadhwani Foundations’ Skills Development Network (SDN) has partnered with Aryabhatta Knowledge University (AKU) as program management and technical support partner and this initiative recently culminated in successful placements of around 70 % of the students trained and passed under this program.
Congratulating the successfully placed students Dr. A. K. Agarwal, Vice Chancellor – Aryabhatta Knowledge University, Patna said, “The Community Colleges of Bihar in a short span of time have been doing wonderfully well and have performed above our expectations. The credit goes to our expert partner in this field, Wadhwani Foundations whose members have been working hard along with the University to make this program a success. There is always scope for improvement and we will continue to do better with the support of Wadhwani Foundations. The Community Colleges are also helping in producing good citizens equipped with life skills, which is necessary to improve the society as a whole. My good wishes are with the program.”
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has announced programs to mainstream skilling in high schools (HS) and additionally setup community colleges (CC) to train millions of post-secondary students to become knowledge workers for a global economy. These industry-inked, job-training programs are supported by the Government approved National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF). MHRD has piloted such 200 Community Colleges across the country and Bihar was the first state to roll out the program successfully in 11 Colleges.
Commenting on the community college program in Bihar, Manish Mohan, Executive Vice President, Skills Development Network (SDN), Wadhwani Foundations said, “Wadhwani Foundations’ Skills Development Network is supporting Government’s skilling initiatives by doing program management and providing technical support with an aim to maximize job creation efforts. Despite having immense human resource potential, Bihar urgently needs skilled work force. Our partnership with Aryabhatta Knowledge University (AKU), Patna is now more than a year old and we have worked together to provide skills training integrated with higher education for building a skilled work force in Bihar, which is both employable and entrepreneurial in nature. I am delighted that our partnership with AKU has been extended for another two years. This will go a long way towards strengthening the skills and business ecosystem of Bihar.”
The community colleges aim to mainstream skills into higher education by providing 6 -24 months duration programs, thereby enhancing vertical mobility for students graduating from class XII and aspiring to pursue a degree program. SDN helped in drafting a community college scheme with MHRD/UGC and hosted a committee of state education ministers to U.S Community Colleges. This led to a MHRD funded pilot of 200 Community Colleges in 2012-13. UGC has also funded 267 Community Colleges and 127Colleges for B.Voc. SDN is currently supporting 18 community colleges across Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand.
The Community College of Patna Women’s College, which was formally inaugurated on 4th October 2013, saw encouraging placements. Even before appearing in their examinations and getting a diploma, 11 students of Healthcare and 4 students of Retail domains found placements. Dr. Sister Marie Jessie A.C., Principal – Community College, Patna Women’s College, Patna says, “One significant achievement of the College was signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Wadhwani Foundations with the purpose to strengthen the learning process, create a link between the college and stakeholders in the community and to search for new local partners for the college to help in the employment of students. I hope that in the next session new developments will take place and a larger number of students will build their capacity to get respectable job and position in the society.”
This successful community college pilot in Bihar has reaffirmed their proposed status as alternative and innovative system of holistic skills integrated education aimed towards gainful employment in collaboration with the local industry. However, in order to further develop the community college ecosystem in India, we will need to strengthen access to skills, develop flexibility in curriculum and teaching methodology, increase collaboration with industrial, commercial and service sectors of local areas and respond to the social needs and issues of the local community through job placements within the local area/promotion of self employment and small business development.
About Wadhwani Foundations:
Founded in 2000 by Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, the Foundations’ primary mission is economic acceleration in emerging economies. With large-scale education led initiatives driving skill development and job creation, the Foundations have launched five high impact education, training and research focused Initiatives in India, some of which are replicated in US, South East Asia and will soon be replicated in Africa and South America.
To leverage entrepreneurship as a catalyst for job creation, Wadhwani Foundations established the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) in 2003. NEN inspires, educates and supports emerging entrepreneurs. Since inception, NEN has resulted in 2,000 new start-ups with 12,000+ direct and 50,000+ indirect jobs, and is now tracking 1,500+ new companies each year. For skilling, vocational education and training led job fulfillment, Wadhwani Foundations have set up the Skills Development Network (SDN) which supports multiple high school, college and employer initiatives for entry level mid-skill jobs through a digital/video curricula and pedagogy.
Opportunity Network for Disabled (OND) is aimed at mainstreaming the educated disabled into sustainable high quality corporate jobs through a business value proposition. Research and Innovation Network (RIN) aims to upgrade India’s research eco-system by catalyzing ‘Centers of Innovations’ in partnership with existing research Institutes. Policy Research Centre provides data driven research inputs for informed policy actions towards creating an education led human-capital driven growth economy. Wadhwani Chair on US-India policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington, D.C, aims to accelerate India-U.S economic activities primarily through channels of skilling and education.